December 24, 2009

Christmas in the Park

It's tradition for our family to go to "Christmas in the Park" near our home. It's simple, cheap, and fun. First, we stop at Quik Trip for hot cocoa or a cold Coke, and then take a bee-line straight for the lights.

The display started small 22 years ago and has grown into one of the most popular events around. Now mind you, I was warned to go as soon as the sun went down to beat the long lines, and I listened, but found myself wanting to finish the evening news. As a result we ended up joining the crowd as opposed to beating it.

It was a beautiful 53 degree evening, so the long wait didn't seem to matter. In fact, it made our time of fun last even longer. With Dani and the dogs piled in the car, we rolled down the windows, turned up KLOVE, and absorbed the holiday atmosphere. For 65 minutes we traversed hill and dale and crept through patches of low-lying fog, all while enjoying the smell of winter woods. As we left, the line of cars had grown miles longs setting those yet to see the lights up for a 1 1/2 - 2 hour wait. I have no doubt they enjoyed their trek through the lights as much as we did. It's a popular holiday attraction that's sure to put a smile on everyone's face.

One of many welcoming elves.
45 minutes into the wait
some folks had to make a pit stop.
Not us. We kept going.
We arrived!


Christmas in the Park (cont.)

Merry Christmas to you!

"In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made;

without him nothing was made that has been made.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

John 1:1-4

December 20, 2009

Mother of Invention

If necessity is the mother of invention, we hit the mother load with a BIG necessity. Our yellow Labrador is 2 years old and has had chronic ear infections since the get go. He's been on nearly every antibiotic, anti-fungal, antihistamine, ear drop, pill, capsule, cream, and special diet you can imagine. Each ear infection costs $150 on the average and is back in no time at all, which is why we began looking beyond conventional medicine for help. After a quick gander at Google we discovered a simple but highly effective home remedy that's proven to keep Ecclesiaste's ears under control as well as get rid of Cocoa Bean's first case of bilateral ear infections a few weeks ago.

Our medical supplies include: extra virgin olive oil, white vinegar, a few cotton balls, and some Q-tips. Mix 2-3 Tbsps of vinegar with 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl and stir with a Q-Tip. Dab a cotton ball into the mixture so it's about 1/2 absorbed. Coat the inner ear wall and squeeze a few drops into the ear canal. Coat a Q-Tip with the mixture and use it to clean deeper into the ear canal. Repeat this process until your cotton ball and Q-Tip are clean after wiping out the ear.

Ecclesi gets this treatment each day or maybe every third day if he's stable. He loves it so much that as I prepared these supplies to take this picture he begged me to swab his ear. (His ear looked great but he got a "treatment" anyway.)

Please understand that until you know exactly what you're dealing with you should take your dog to the vet before trying this remedy. If by chance, however, your dog turns out to be chronic like our Ecclesiastes and you've tried everything else under the rising sun, this home remedy is worth a try. Beats $150 by a mile!

How we know when to treat our dog's ears: Inner ear is swollen, red, and smells sweet. They itch their ear(s), tilt their head to the effected side, and often shake their heads.

A healthy ear will appear light pink in color, show no signs of puffiness, and smells more neutral than sweet. Checking your dog's ears every day or so will help you develop the skill for knowing when to use your home-made remedy. At first your dog will not like want you to handle his/her sore ear, but if you are patient and gentle he/she will soon learn you mean no harm. Cocoa Bean is not nearly as compliant as Ecclesi, so we allowed him to sniff the soaked cotton ball and started out with "mini treatments" to gain his trust. He's a pro now and has healthy ears to prove it.

December 16, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Babes

My sister's mother-in-law recently passed away. She was 98 years old and will be greatly missed. Having outlived all of her friends, the family didn't expect a lot of people to attend so they chose to have a small memorial rather than a formal funeral service. It proved to make the gathering far more intimate and touching.

Jimmy stayed home with Dani who was ill, so I went to the funeral home alone. Promptly greeted by my sister, she led me to the front of the chapel to a beautiful collage of pictures representing Marie's life. We giggled and gawked over how silly we looked in years past and marveling at how our children have grown. She showed me the bouquet of flowers that sat next to the urn and two special hand-made cards constructed by my grandniece and grandnephew. After a time of visiting with all who were in attendance, the group sat quietly in the sanctuary. Then, with the great ease and authority, my grandniece (Olivia age 7) walked to the podium in order to explain her card which was on display behind glass.

Olivia's Card
Olivia explained that in the picture her great grandma is in heaven
looking down on her son and his wife saying, "It's ok. I am in heaven."
I was fascinated that she drew a line between heaven and earth,
naturally understanding the divided.

Then Calvin, her 5 year old brother, approached the podium and explained his card on display next to hers.

Calvin's Card
Writing to his grandpa he penned,
"Imsoree da yr momdieed."
(I'm sorry your mom died.)

Olivia and Calvin bravely and proudly
speaking at the podium.
After the great grandchildren spoke, Marie's son, daugther-in-law, and grandchildren shared as well. It was a humble ceremony void of any pomp and circumstance, somehow making it extra special. A simple, quiet, hard-working woman honored for her life and service to family left me pondering King Solomon's summary of our purpose in life in Ecclesiastes 12:13, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

It also brought to mind the priceless value little children hold in the heart of God...

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me,

and do not hinder them,

for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

December 12, 2009

Late Night Early Surprise

In honor of the big 5-0 visiting me tomorrow, I was met with a pleasant surprise last night just before I hit the sack. It was 10pm and Jimmy was letting the dogs out for their last visit to the latrine and turning off the TV and lights, as I headed to the bedroom. Turning back the covers my tired eyes met an early birthday present. New night clothes and a book!

It's become tradition for Jimmy to pick and purchase my night clothes. He seems to have a natural knack for it and not only do I always love what he selects, but they never fail to provide a perfect fit. You can imagine my joy to find hidden amidst the pre-warmed blankets a new night outfit and book I've been interested in, "The Same Kind of Different as Me." It's received rave reviews and I can't wait to delve into it. (But first I must finish "Twinkle.")

I have a feeling celebrating my half century mark isn't over. Jimmy's asked me to keep Monday open. When asked why he was struck silent. Hmmm.

December 9, 2009

A Bee in Her Bonnet

Getting a picture of Dani smiling is as scarce as hens teeth, but we hit the jackpot the other day. More proud than Autistic, she happily modeled for this photo.

Jimmy had just bought this new hat but before he could put it on his beautiful bald head, Dani got a bee in her bonnet to wear it first. It was well worth the purchase just to capture her smile.

November 30, 2009

A Little Help

I was visiting my brother and his family the other evening and saw the most precious thing. Walking up the stairs my eyes caught the sight of something only a loving father (grandfather in this case) would do. The moment I saw it I was reminded of our heavenly Father and how He cares for each of us on a very personal level.

At almost two years old, my brother's granddaughter is trying her hardest to master the stairs. Exceptionally petite in stature, her hands can barely reach the main railing, so thinking outside the box he created a custom rail just for her. It's a beautiful textured piece of wood that looks nothing like the mass produced rod it sits under. Gently handcrafted and carefully measured, this bar was made especially for his little grand baby girl to keep her safe in her travels. Whether climbing to new heights or heading down to visit her G.G. Pa (great grandpa) she has just what she needs for the journey.

This precious little railing reminds me of what our heavenly Father provides for each us as well. After all, how can we grow if we don't learn to do things for ourselves, yet some things are simply beyond our reach. That's when God provides us with our own custom-built railing. Railings that help us through the toughest of times like a much needed boost of encouragement from a faithful friend, a word of truth and hope from scripture, that warm hug given at just the right moment, an unexpected but much needed financial aid, or the relief of a breakthrough in a seemingly hopeless situation. Whatever the circumstance, God provides just what we need to make it through.

While it would be cumbersome for me to hold onto Heidi's railing, I am no less in need of one of my own. It seems no matter how old we become there is always something that's just beyond our grasp rendering us in need of a little help of our own. Perhaps you need a little support today as well. Maybe things seem beyond your reach this holiday season with too many needs and not enough resources. If so, grab ahold of our only sustainer and hope, Jesus Christ. More than a temporary bar of support, His cross has given us eternal victory over any trial that comes our way here on earth. So, grab hold of Him and climb to new heights. He'll be with you every step of the way!

"Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies will cower before you, and you will trample down their high places.”
Deuteronomy 33:29

"But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless."
Psalm 10:14

"The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies."
Psalm 118:7

"So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

November 26, 2009

My Part in Thanksgiving Dinner

I am not much of a cook. When Jimmy traveled full time I concocted meals just to keep the kids alive. Now that he's home he's taken over as chef and not only is he a fantastic cook, but he loves it. Guy Fieri has become his new best friend and like a fly on the wall I watch his shows too. It's never too late to develop a passion for cooking and even though I'm still only a spectator, who knows what the future may hold. Miracles do still happen.

Jimmy's always especially enjoyed making Thanksgiving dinner. He dolls up the bird, compiles the stuffing, and coordinates all the rest. Peculiar as it may be, however, when it comes to making pie crust I'm not half bad. If I have a food processor I can whip up a flat pastry in no time at all and it's actually quite good. A few days ago I relished Jimmy's words as they drifted across the room and onto my ears, "Dear, can you make your pie crust?" Like a nurse holding the only First-Aid kit in a hospital I felt so important and needed. After all, you can't make pumpkin pie without a crust...I don't think. Besides, even if you could it was my chance to feel vital to the project. Dropping my coat and purse I promptly washed my hands and got to work. In a jiffy my "Easy Pie Crust" was done. Now we're ready for our traditional holiday meal and I can say I contributed my part.

Easy Pie Crust
2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
5-6 Tbsp ice water

Mix flour, salt, and butter in food processor
until butter is distributed nicely.
With the food processor on, gradually add ice water
until the dough develops into a ball.
Remove ball of dough and roll it out flat
on a flour sprinkled counter.
Place in 9" pie pan.
(I don't butter the pan or dish but I suppose you could.)

What's your easy but good and favorite recipe for Thanksgiving?

November 20, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life

It was a fun day at work yesterday. We enjoyed a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and a special appearance by Karolyn Grimes, the actress who played Zuzu Bailey the littlest girl from It's a Wonderful Life. She showed clips from the movie, which were in color, and shared interesting little tid-bits of information about the making of the film.

Let's see...she told us that the snow flakes used in the movie were actually Ivory Soap flakes because they were quieter than Hollywood's snow flakes. To show its affect on the movie she showed the scene when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) jumped into the water to save Clarence and how they both surfaced in a soapy film (no pun.) Then she pointed out a particular actress in the background of one scene who was donned in a big hat with a bow. She walked back and forth in that scene six times! Karolyn said Jimmy Stewart was the most kind and humble man you'd ever want to meet and she was paid $75/week to be in the movie that took only three months to make. At that time a car cost $750, so $75 a week was no small pittance.

The film clips where hilarious, enlightening, and quick to get us in the holiday spirit, in spite of the fact the movie was filmed in 90 degree heat. When all was said and done she gifted each of us with an autographed Christmas ornaments and a warm heart. It was truly a pleasure to hear from this fine actress.

Oh... and do you know how Karolyn's character got the name Zuzu? Well, apparently back in the day there were gingerbread cookies made by the ZuZu company and Jimmy Stewart's character called his littlest girl "Zuzu his little gingerbread cookie." She was just as cute as a bug's ear back then and is today proud to be a part of one of the greatest films ever made. Thanks Karolyn for paying us a visit!

November 14, 2009

A New Sound

One of the things we love about our neighborhood is that it's quiet. Many children have lived in our vicinity throughout the years, but as life would have it they grew up and moved away. Recently, however, new neighbors moved in next door with four children, a dog, and play equipment resembling a fort. I wasn't 100% on the side of giving up the quiet, until we met this wonderful family.

Not only are the parents the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet but their children are so sweet and polite. The two boys in particular love Jimmy. One day we were playing frisbee with the dogs when suddenly we heard, "Jimmaaaaaa!" It was the youngest boy hollering at Jimmy to say hi. I piped up and said, "Hey! What about me?" to which he replied, "I don't know your name." I revealed my identity but don't think he really cares. He's a man's man and doesn't have much time for any woman other than his it should be.

We've lost our quiet neighborhood but gained so much more. I thought silence was my preference until I realized how much the sound of children playing refreshes my soul. Taking me back to my own youth, the tickles and giggles never cease to put a smile on my face.

Yesterday Jimmy took a picture of the littlest girl drawing a picture of our family on her driveway. She is as smart as a tack and full of stories. What an absolute doll and just look at that head of hair!

November 9, 2009

What's in a Name?

Making my way across the hospital cafeteria bustling with healthcare workers finishing their lunch, I was fast approaching the last few directions on my crinkled sheet of paper. The instructions had done well to guide me into the main lobby of the huge facility, left down a tight, dark, and busy corridor, a zig zagg right to the “orange” elevators, and down to level B. Once off the carrot colored lift, I was aimed to the right and then left across the cafeteria to a meeting room where I had full intentions of being prompt, present, and ready for CPR class.

Opening the door to the classroom I half expected a room full of doctors conducting a work-lunch, but was pleased to see I had indeed arrived in the right place. Sitting around tables assembled in a “U” fashion, I saw four fellow students waiting by their CPR adult and infant dummies. There seemed to be plenty of dummies to go around so I knew I’d made good time.

Upon entering the room the first thing I saw was a sign-in sheet and handouts. The dog-eared corners of the handouts were a dead giveaway they were not ours to keep. They had been used before and would be used again, so we’d be asked to hand them in at the end of class. After signing in I reached for a hand out and noticed the one on the top of the stack had the name “Kim” written in ink on the upper right corner. In one easy motion I slid it to the side and took the nameless one underneath. Interestingly enough the guy behind me did the same thing.

I love watching human behavior. It never ceases to amaze me as I try to figure out why we do the things we do. I am convinced that even though some of our actions may be bizarre and unexplainable, we all do what we do for a reason. It may not necessarily be a good reason, but it’s a reason that motivates us just the same. In this case I find it fascinating that I instinctively didn’t want the handout with Kim’s name on it and I’d wager to guess the CPR students before me slid her aside as well. The question is why? What’s wrong with using a handout that has someone else’s name on it? It was the same life-saving information, yet I shunned it as if it were substandard material. I even knew I’d be handing it in at the end of class, yet still selected a non-named sheet.

I found this observation so fascinating I ran an experiment on the ladies of the Sunday school class I co-teach. I was planning to share this story about Kim’s unwanted paper so I wrote the name Kim on the top right corner of one handout. Placing it on top of the stack I handed out the outlines. As I told the story three ladies on the back row began to snicker. Knowing they’d had an encounter with Kim I asked them to explain. Confessing and confirming what I had expected, I learned that just like the students in my CPR class, they had rejected the named outline too. The lady who ended up with it took it only because it was the last sheet and she crossed out Kim, replacing it with her own name. Oh don’t you just love it?

After working years in women’s ministry if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that no one wants a mistake in their identity. Women want their nametags correct and will let you know one way or another. Some come right out and tell you so you’ll get it right the next time, while others simply conduct their own spell check by using a Sharpie Marker to correct the error. Accepting our name misspelled simply goes against our grain. Why? Because we are unique creatures of God. Handmade in His image we are one of a kind. That's why we go to great lengths to protect our uniqueness.

There is another with a name like no other. He is Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. No one goes to the Father but by Him and He is the Light of the world! He created us, He died for us, and He loves us. Take the time to praise His Holy Name today. We owe Him our lives.

"On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:


Revelation 19:16

November 5, 2009

Back on Time

You know how at daylight savings time there's always one clock that's last to be adjusted? Well...this clock hangs above our T.V. and gets the most attention in all the house. I glance at it several times a day and trust it with all my heart to keep me on schedule. It sits high and majestic on the wall of our family room and though most frequently used, is often the last to get its bi-annual attention.

In years past we gone months before altering these delicate hands to reflect real time because it's no easy task. It's actually quite difficult because Jimmy has to pull our 60 some inch television away from the wall and maneuver the 8 ft ladder into place. Once all items are in position he then commences with a beautiful but cumbersome performance of adjusting and balancing the 25 lb timepiece while teetering atop the ladder; kind of like a home grown Cirque du Soleil act.

I know it's a pain but I highly encourage Jimmy to change this clock because it drives me nuts to continually recalculate the time in my head. It breeds a degree of insecurity to the point where if the time is wrong for long I have to commit to not looking at it all together because the constant springing forward or falling back tires me to tears.

Last night, when I sat down to watch my favorite show, I looked up to see Big Ben had fallen back an hour. I couldn't believe my eyes so I ran into the kitchen to confirm my hunch. Sure enough Jimmy had adjusted it while I was gone, a mere five days after daylight saving began. Now my mind can rest until we have to spring forward in six months. --- Thanks dear!

How about you? Do you have a clock that's out of reach come daylight savings time?

October 28, 2009

Fall Foliage

This past weekend, before the fall colors disappeared, Jimmy took a picture of me with my boys. I'd just returned from a speaking event where I introduced myself by showing pictures of the family. I told Ecclesiastes and Cocoa Bean they were a hit and it made their day. They were ready for another photo shoot.
We went to a nearby lake that has the most breathtaking trees this time of year. While taking pictures, three other people stopped with their cameras to capture the beauty as well. I couldn't help but notice that each admirer was in their 60's or 70's prompting me to think how many years they must have already seen fall's beautiful display (unless of course they were new to Kansas City...which makes me wonder why so "seasoned" folks are moving to Missouri...but that's another story.)

No matter our age it's clear the beauty and majesty of God's creation never grows old. It is in fact a spectacular gift designed to bless our socks off and oh how it does each new season. I know we certainly enjoy His wondrous display of vibrant colors and as a result can't help but give Him all the glory, honor, and praise for the great work He has done.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they display knowledge."

Psalm 19:1-2

October 25, 2009

Delta Delights

If you've ever flown Delta airlines perhaps you've had the pleasure of enjoying their cookies. You usually get two per flight and they are delicious. When Jimmy flew Delta I always looked forward to my little treats at the end of the week.

My co-worker just flew Delta and loved the cookies so much she Googled them and discovered they are sold at Wal Mart of all places. While on break one day she made a cookie run and brought back my long lost favorite snack. Wasting no time, I hustled over to the same cookie isle and picked up two bags for myself. They have the consistency of a ginger snap and a taste I can't describe. Give them a try and see if they become one of your favorites too!

October 19, 2009

Giving Donuts and Getting a Giraffe

Our local Christian radio station, KLJC, announces birthdays each day on the morning show and if your name is chosen you win a dozen donuts. Since Jimmy and Ecclesiastes share an August 23rd birthday, I thought it would be a kick to have it announced on the radio. Winning a box of donuts would be nice, but what I really wanted was to hear their names called over the air waves (cheap thrill.)

Well, lo and behold, their names were announced and they won the baker's dozen. Since sugar gives me gargantuan headaches, I picked up the donuts today and distributed them among family. I gave my brother and his family five sugar bombs and our skinny minny dad, who can eat anything and not gain an ounce, four carbohydrate wheels. My sister declined to participate since she handles sugar more poorly than me, which left four thinly glazed treats for the birthday boys who won them in the first place.

After distributing the donuts, my sister, dad, and I went to Burger King for lunch and Wal Mart. Since Dani has been talking non-stop about giraffes (in sign language and once verbally) my sister painted her a giraffe on canvas. When I picked up Dani at work I left the picture in her seat to surprise her (the donuts were gone by then) and she was so thrilled she happily posed for a picture.

It's been a good day giving donuts and getting a giraffe. We hope you are having a good day too!

October 16, 2009

A Time to Grieve

I've been going through a time of grief lately. It seems everywhere I turn ladies my age are enjoying regained freedom as their grown children leave the nest. Traveling hither and yon, local and abroad, many are going as far as the other side of the world and I wish I could go. Trying my hardest to be happy for them, reality grips hard and hurts like the dickens as the truth of our future comes more and more to life.

Dani had gone through several months of poor health lately. We've visited doctors, changed medications, and tried to look at every aspect of her life to figure out what's made her health so brittle. She's had hives for three years and diarrhea all of her life. It's draining and discouraging to think things will most likely never get better. Jimmy and I will be her caregivers for the rest of our days and freedom in our later years is but an elusive dream.

A few days ago, with grief weighing particularly heavy on my heart, Jimmy sent this to me at work. "I had 15 minutes of free time before I left so I sat down and was about to start reading the notes for BSF and Dani joined me. So I read 2 paged out loud describing what they meant. She loved it, she wrapped her arm into mine, leaned her head against me and focused very hard on what I was reading. It was a awesome scene and she loved learning. At the end of the reading she had tears in her eye’s. She loves hearing about God."

BSF is his men's Bible Study Fellowship and it's excellent teaching on the word of God. I cried as he described the tender spirit of our little child. Unable to communicate and struggling with life's chronic issues, Dani finds solace in the truth of God's word. What's more fascinating is how God loves her enough to transcends the bounds of disabilities to speak to her heart as only He can do.

God has taught me a multitude of things through the years one of which is to never give up. Though seemingly locked in the mind of a child, Dani can sense the Spirit of God better than most adults. She worships, she prays, and she believes just like a child and just as God instructs. Jimmy said it well, "I’m always amazed at her love for God. She is so much more sensitive than I. One day she’ll stand before God and he will say to her well done my faithful servant, you suffered Autism wonderfully for my glory. Her viewpoint of God must be so much clearer then ours. How we muddy things up."

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you too have lost a dream. If so, let me offer a word of comfort. Grief is normal and it is good. It can be the father of great insight if we go through all the stages, but it's a long journey that takes many detours along the way. It's tempting to pick up residency at the rest stop of bitterness and anger, but that will only lead to more grief. No, instead we must determine to pursue God's purpose so that we can glorify Him. Only then will the trials of life be of value. If you are grieving today grieve with God. Rather than turning from Him turn to Him for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Please look at me carefully the next time you see me.
Please notice that I am small and weak.
Please listen to me carefully the next time you see me.
Please notice that I don't know much.
Like you, I was born helpless. I'm still growing up so taking
care of myself will take me a long time.
I need food.
I need rest.
I need to be kept clean
I need to be kept warm in winter and cool in summer.
I need to be taken in your arms or sat on your lap.
I need to feel your skin against my skin.
I need you to help heal my hurts.
I need you to play with me just so you and I can have some good times together.
I need you to teach me everything you can so I'll have a chance in this world when I grow up.
I need your patience. I know I'm not very orderly. I cry out for things like food and attention the second I need them. I can't help it and I know that bothers you sometimes. All I can hope is that you will be patient with me until I can learn to be patient, too.
Above all, I need to know you love me.
I need so much from you, yet I have only one thing I can give you in return.
That is my love.
Today and tomorrow and as long as I live.


Emily Honeycutt-Degler October 16 at 7:51am
My dear friend,
Today as I read your post, I was so humbled, and as I often am, brought to tears by the simple truth of God's great mercy and love though the eyes of one seemingly born for affliction. I do not claim to understand in its entirety why God chooses to allow this, but I have seen Him do it with my own motherly eyes. As you know, in I Corinthians 1:27 Paul said that God would use the simple and weak things of this world to shame the wise & the strong. In our world my child's and possibly even more so your child's life would be considered a waste and further evidence of a cruel God that stands afar and watches sadistically as suffering takes place. But, often it is in watching those sweet innocent faces behold the majesty and awesomeness of their Creator, the strongest and the wisest are brought to their knees. For it is impossible to deny God's power in the face of one so weak brought to tears in reverence of the One that holds her firmly in His grasp. In many ways the Danis and Grants of this world are the lucky ones, for I believe because of their life of affliction, get to behold the glory of God on this earth in ways that many of us cannot fathom.
God bless you, my friend. You and your sweet Dani are frequently mentioned in the prayers of this house. May God continue to use her to bring honor and glory to His name!

Much love, Emily

October 12, 2009

A Reason to Celebrate

A month ago we had a birthday lunch at work for a co-worker. We each pitched in and brought the different ingredients needed to make Open Faced Tacos a.k.a. Traveling Tacos. I hadn't heard of either but quickly discovered it was simple and delicious. Apparently in the south the ingredients are always layered in a particular sequence and the process is never varied. We were given strict instructions, by one who knew, how to construct the taco and it was a hit.

Last week an email went around the office suggesting we have another taco day because there was a bag of Fritos left over from the prior fiesta. The email no sooner made its rounds when someone hollered out, "Only we can plan a party over one leftover bag of Fritos!" I giggled and thought how true.

I love to have fun and after all why not? Life is full of pain and sadness. Why not grab the gusto whenever possible? We can look at the glass half empty or half full. The choice is ours. We can wait for a big reason to celebrate, which may leave us waiting for a good long while, or find one right under our nose. In our case the cause came in the form of an extra bag of Fritos. Create your own good time and try this ever-so-casual recipe.

Walking Tacos (Open Face Tacos)
Layer the following ingredients in this order if you want to meet southern etiquette:
  • Fritos (bottom)
  • Rice
  • Chili (thick to keep the Fritos crisp)
  • Melted spicy Velveeta cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Dollop of sour cream on top
  • Enjoy!
Fun option: Buy single serve bags of Fritos, open bag top and layer ingredients in the bag. It's great for kids and an easy clean up.

October 8, 2009

When It Rains...

What happens when it rains 2" in Kansas City and wont' stop? Little dogs like Cocoa Bean flounder in the mud and then wonder why daddy won't let them in the house.

Mr. Mud Pie got in the house alright, carried straight to the bath tub for a warm soapy bath. He didn't like it one bit but he's clean. I have a feeling it's going to be a long dirty winter.

October 1, 2009

Good Friends

They say dog is man's best friend. Clearly they're little girl's best friend too. Whenever we all pile into the car Dani has to share her seat with one dog or another. She doesn't typically show affection for her canine brothers, but she tolerates them remarkably well when they encroach on her personal space. We feel their presence teaches her to share, tolerate, and receive unconditional love, thus helping her on a variety of levels.

Jimmy nearly always has his camera with him so the other day I turned the camera around and snapped a quick pic of Cocoa Bean sleeping on her leg. Her smile says it all. She was truly enjoying her little friend as he counted cats or whatever dogs count when they sleep. While he sawed logs she gave him a fast swipe with the back of her hand and smiled as if proud of what she had done.

I am a firm believer that animals are a gift from God. They never harbor a grudge, they faithfully hold you in high esteem, and ask for nothing but love. I always look forward to coming home to my boys who greet me like a rock star and treat Dani like a queen. They help keep life simple, just the way God intended, and for that I am grateful.

How about you? Do you have a special gift from God in furry form?

September 25, 2009

Size 5? No problem...

When Jimmy and I decided to get married the first thing I did was go to the shoe store and order my wedding shoes. I had long since learned that finding size 5 shoes was not only difficult but sometimes impossible. The last thing I wanted was for this to be a glitch in our special day. Just as I had thought the store didn't have the wedding pump in my size, so they ordered it and handed me my prize two weeks later. Fast forward twenty some years and things haven't changed a bit, in fact they've gotten worse. Now, the smallest shoe major department stores carry is size 6, which is terribly frustrating.

A couple of years ago Jimmy and I were in Toronto, Canada and I stumbled across the cutest tangerine Clarks I'd ever seen. It was love at first site. Oh, if only I could have a pair of those lovely sandals. What I wouldn't give to take those babies home. Well aware the odds were slim, I asked with pessimism, "You don't have these in 5's do you?" Of course they didn't and if they had I'd have dropped dead on foreign soil. This not so unusual rejection, however, served to spur me on to new heights. I can't explain it but something inside me snapped and a full blown search was underway. With a fury for foot fashion brewing as never before, I went home and began surfing the net for my little orange beauties. It was then I found and oh the bliss of being able to find my size from the comfort of home. The cost for delivery, including returns, is free. And get have 365 days to return them! No joke. As long as you have not worn them outside the home, you have one year to return them for a full refund.

I've been looking for winter shoes and ordered these four beauties. I'm sad to say none of them will work for one reason or another, but no despair, I'll simply print off a return label and send them back. I have two more pairs arriving today, so all is not lost. Oh, and did I tell you they deliver within 24-48 hours. Oh...wait a sec...I hear the door bell. Yes! It's my shoes. Ta ta.

September 21, 2009

Retro Monday

Last February I blogged on "Memories" from the past. It was so fun I'm doing it again. Jimmy enjoyed walking down memory lane with me and added a few himself. So, hop on board and let's reminisce about things of the past.

I remember...
  • Rotary dial phones. Loved the phone numbers that were full of 9's and 0's.
  • Jaw breakers the size of baseballs. I'd take my oversized treat, place it in a kitchen towel, grab a hammer, and smash it into bite sized bits. I'd be gone by dusk.
  • Lushy chocolate malts.
  • Manual typewriters in high school and layers of carbon paper.
  • Ditto machines that printed in lavender and had a weird indescribable smell when fresh off the roller.
  • When children were the remote control.
  • How movies like Frankenstein, Mummy, and Wolf man were extra spooking in black and white.
  • Replacing T.V. tubes.
  • Dialing "O" for the operator to make a long distance phone call.
  • Cars without A/C, power steering, power windows, or power brakes. Driving to the store was a workout.
  • Crawling in the engine compartment to work on a car. This is Jimmy's. I only crawled under cars to retrieve a ball or frisbee.
  • AM radio only. You knew a storm was coming when it got all staticy.
  • When gas was 29 cents/gallon.
  • When filling station pump dials only went up to 99 cents. As gas prices exceeded 99 cents/gallon, the price had to be cut in half and when it was time to pay, the price was doubled. Now that was confusing.
  • 8-track tapes. Never like them.
  • 45 records and their colorful adaptors.
  • Defrosting the ice box with pans of boiling water. Once defrosted we'd use every towel the kitchen had to offer soaking up the wet mess.
  • Cold aluminum ice trays that stuck to your hand when you pulled the lever to release the ice.
  • Full meals were served on airplanes.
  • When there was no Tylenol, only Aspirin.
  • The first home hair dryer that consisted of a plastic cap with a vacuum-type hose leading to the machine. There were also hard fold down dryers like in the beauty shops.

  • When the first hand held hair dryer came out to replace the plastic cap. Mine was light blue, I got it for Christmas, and it was handier than a pocket on a shirt.
  • When hot rollers replaced pink sponge rollers.
  • Stamps were 5 cents.
  • When cheese slices were peeled apart not individually wrapped.
  • Wax lips.
  • Penny candy.
  • Sea monkeys.
  • When JFK was shot. I was four years old and it seemed as if the world stood still.
  • When Elvis Presley died. My family was on vacation on Padre Island. I was sitting on the hotel deck looking out at the ocean when my dad came out and told me the news.
What are some of your childhood memories? Where were you when you heard the news of JFK and Elvis? I'd love to hear what lies in the cobwebs of your mind.

September 18, 2009

God's Invisible Qualities

"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities —
his eternal power and divine nature —
have been clearly seen,
being understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse."
Romans 1:20

We went to visit my sister the other day. She lives on several acres of land, so we brought our dogs to play with her pup, Pilgrim. Standing amidst a swirling tornado of canine chaos, she pointed to the back end of the clearing to her swing. She said she moved it to that location because it is so shady and peaceful near the woods. Looking at the swing off in the distance, I could see what she meant and chimed, "Isn't it funny how much more peaceful it is to sit out in God's creation than inside, even in your most comfortable chair? Somehow anywhere else just isn't the same." She agreed and we both stood amazed at the beauty of God's creation that surrounded us on all sides.

As we soaked in the moment the Lord reminded me of the ultimate purpose of creation. While designed to bless us with awe and wonder, its primary purpose is to point all men to Him! Yes, His handiwork is captivating, but it's ultimately an invitation to meet and grow near to our eternal Creator.

According to Romans 1:20 the world's beauty and all that is in it is evidence of God's invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature. Perfect and powerful, each work of His hand carries His unmistakeable fingerprint. This is how He makes Himself known and why no man can say he has never seen God. We all have seen the work of His hand and make a choice what to do with what we've seen.

Look for God today in the sun rise or as it sets, in the fall leaves, puffy clouds, birds of the air, or wild creature that crosses your path. Marvel at His gift of creation but don't stop there. Praise the Holy one who created them all!

September 14, 2009

Odd Ads

I received an envelop in the mail from our son Drew, the one who sent me the Disney tiara a few months back. I couldn't imagine what he was sending and for some silly reason thought it might be bad news.

Eager but pensive, I opened it with caution and was pleasantly surprised. Up to his old tricks he sent an ad for "TV Ears" from Newsweek magazine. Apparently while doing his laundry he was perusing through the magazine and saw this, prompting him to think of good ole ma and pa. He writes, "I couldn't quite get over how excited the woman looks. I seriously wondered what they were doing to get such an extreme reaction." He was further amazed it claimed to save a marriage.

Leaning against the counter of our kitchen, I howled out loud reading the ad and accompanying letter. Then, I wanted to kick myself for not mailing him an ad I'd seen the week before. Searching through the trash I clipped a few gaudy goodies and mailed them to him with glee. I shall not be out done!

What are some of your favorite ads that make you laugh?

September 12, 2009

Wigged Out

Now, first off you have to know that when our son Drew was a little boy he didn't like the feel of grass. We'd lower him on to the lawn when he was 12 months old or so and he'd hike his legs up refusing to stand. He out grew the aversion, but when Dani came along we started all over again.

With her full-blow Autism she had many dislikes. She didn't like to be held, refused to hold her bottle, hated animal fur, and to this day despises the fringe on rugs or blankets.

With this in mind you can imagine our shock when she allowed a wig to be placed on her head at work. Jimmy went to pick her up and was so amazed he took this picture with his phone. Why... for crying out loud she won't even touch her own hair much less allow another kind of hair touch her. For some odd reason this day was different and for that we are proud of her. Good job Doodle Bug!

By the way does she remind you of anyone in particular? Broadway's Annie perhaps?

September 5, 2009

Memory Lane

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in 1882. In 1884 the event of honoring working men and women was made official and the rest is history.

Labor Day also marks the last holiday of the summer, an unofficial end to summer, and the traditional queue to pack away the white shoes, slacks, and jackets.

This celebration of hard working American's got me thinking back on all the jobs I've had over the years. It gave me a chuckle, so I thought I'd share them with you in hopes you'll share too.

1) My first income came from my mom who paid me $10 a week to iron dad's hankies. Hankies are those delicate little square pieces of cloth that men and women used before Kleenex arrived on the scene. I'd go into the basement each week and transform freshly washed wrinkled rags into crisp folded and presentable hankies in no time at all. It was an easy ten bucks.

2)The next form of income came through babysitting. I remember taking care of cute little Blake, our neighbor on the south side of our home, and Kelly and Casey who lived on our north side. More than once or twice I've wondered what these darling children are up to today. They must be in their 30's by now. Heavenly Father I pray you bless them this day!

3)My third job was official as it payed taxes and social security. I don't recall my hourly wage, I only know it taught me I never want to work with food or retail. It was a dairy store called Zarda Dairy. We sold milk, eggs, egg nog, sundaes, banana slits, pop, and a few other sundries. I took the job because I wanted to make some money but I hated everything about it. If I ran the cash register I had to learn all the sales for the week. People actually cared if I didn't charge them the sale price for their milk and they'd say something about it. I, on the other hand, couldn't figure out what the big deal was. After all, what's ten measly cents? The truth was I was too lazy to memorize the forever changing adds. If it had been up to me I'd have set the prices permanently to make it easier on everyone.

Then...there was the ice cream. Would you believe that at 16 years of age, though I had heard of a banana split, I didn't know how one was made. I'd never had one. When the manager showed me how it was made, I stood wide eyed and slack jawed wondering why in the world anyone would want such a conglomerate of food mixed into one bowl. I was never able to make one with passion because I couldn't get past the disgusting mixture of food. (If you love banana splits I apologize) Between not caring whether folks saved a few cents and slapping food together that was fattening, unhealthy, and disjointed, the dairy store served well to avert me from sales.

4)After the frigid dairy store, I got a job working as an orderly (yes girls can be orderlies) in the Recovery Room of a hospital. This job solidified my love for medicine and it was there I eventually became a student nurse.

5) As a new graduate I worked one year on the orthopedic unit. I worked the 3-11 shift and carried a ball bat in my car in case my late night drive home became more eventful than planned in the not so good part of town.

6) I always had a passion for critical care so after orthopedics I moved to the Intensive Care Unit. To this day my favorite area is that of cardiac intensive care.

7) After seven years in ICU, I took a job as House (hospital) Supervisor in order to get off nights. Now, talk about an interesting job. The nursing supervisor was the one who took over for all the department managers after hours. I took calls and problems from every department of the hospital. I'll never forget the night I was so busy I thought my legs were going to fall off. My pager was buzzing off my belt and I was hungry as a horse. I grabbed a sandwich but didn't have time to take much of a break. Being near the ER I ducked into the Out Patient Department, which was closed, turned on a few lights and sat down at the desk to eat and review the staffing schedule. I'd taken three bites of my sandwich when something felt funny. Looking up I peered through the glass window into the dusky dim patient care area ahead. Squinting to see into the darkness, I was not so pleasantly surprised to see a dead body perched on an ER cart waiting for a funeral home pick up. I was so disappointed I couldn't even eat alone.

8) After many years working in the hospital, I went to work as the nurse at a school for children with communicative disorders. Having Dani made caring for these children somewhat natural, but believe it or not this job proved to be one of the most stressful jobs I've ever had.

9) For the next ten years, I home schooled Dani. As her mama, teacher, and caregiver this time of focus was by far the most touching jobs I've ever dedicated myself to.

10)At the present I am back into the hospital setting working in the Quality Department. Relying on all my past years of experience we monitor and help maintain the highest standards possible for safe and efficient health care. It's good to be back in the hospital setting. Sure beats making banana splits!

Ok. Now it's your turn. What are the jobs you've had through the years? Which ones did you like most and which ones were you most happy to leave?

September 1, 2009

Rotten Fruit

"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Colossians 3:12

I stood at the counter waiting for my hamburger and tater tots to be cooked. It took a few minutes because they're made fresh. As a result they are delicious as can be. I watched as the chef and his assistant took orders, gathered the ingredients, and prepared the plates for each customer. Suddenly, like a couple of dusty tornatos, two older ladies approached the counter. (If they knew I was writing this they'd kill me.)

Abruptly approaching the counter the first lady blurted, "I had your Phillie sandwich yesterday and it was awful. It was the worst thing I've ever eaten!" The chef stood stunned for a moment then quickly gathered his wits and told her she could contact the manger down the hall. His restrain was remarkable.

Seemingly content to have unloaded her grievance, the woman commenced ordering a steak sandwich, but made it very clear it needed to be rare. Amazingly enough, she and the chef picked out a steak that fit the bill and he commenced preparing her sandwich. He put the steak on the grill to heat it up, to which she brashly scolded him because she wanted it to remain as rare as possible. Her mouth no sooner cooled from the first reprimand when she scolded him again for cutting it into slices in order to put on a hoggie bun, as per normal preparation. "I want it whole on a regular hamburger bun! Not sliced on a hoggie" she spit across the counter.

With the patience of Job the chef prepared her and her friend's order, as well as mine and a host of others waiting for lunch that day. My hamburger and tots were delicious, but my heart was heavy. I felt for the poor chef and his assistant because no matter how hard they try there will be people who will never be pleased and are happy to tell them about it. My heart was also burdened for those two ladies. The Lord used their example as a sober reminder of the importance of making a conscious effort to nurture His fruit of the spirit in my heart lest I slowly but surely drop rotten fruit wherever I go. Foul and distasteful fruit such as bitterness, anger, unkindness, impatience, selfishness, and rudeness. What a frightful thought.

I made sure to thank the cook's assistant for my food and give him a big smile. I wanted to somehow compensate for the ladies' rude behavior, but most likely it didn't. I can't reverse what they did. The only thing I can do is make a point to drop fragrant fruit wherever I go and pray for those bearing a rotten crop. After all, they are the most miserable and in need of help.

How is your produce basket? Is it appealing and attractive to those around you or does an accidental bad fruit fall from your tree every now and then? We are all sour once in a while, but making a conscious effort to plant God's word in our hearts and live it out every day of our lives is a sure way to nurture healthy growth. Like a farmer weeding his garden, we must search out any rotten fruit, remove it, and replace it with things that are good and godly.

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it." 1 Peter 3:8-11

August 29, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

I was listening to James Dobson's Focus on the Family yesterday. Lucy Swindoll was on for the second day as guest speaker talking about how we are really called to do only one thing, reflect Christ in all we do. No matter how small we may be in the eyes of the world, if we shine a glimmer of Him to those around us, it can have a tremendous impact. She shared about her family, her mother, father, brother Orval, and other brother Chuck, the pastor and Bible teacher who I've listened to and admired for many years.

She described her brother Chuck as an eternal optimist saying he simply refused to dwell on the negative, something that perked my ears because I tend to be a "half cup empty" kind of gal. She said one year in seminary he walked into Hebrew class to find the chalk board filled corner to corner in Hebrew. It was the test they were about to take. Later she asked him if he failed the exam and in his calm optimist fashion he replied, "Yeah I failed, but I won't always fail." He later became president of that seminary.

His response to a very stressful and intimidating experience brought tears to my eyes because it is so easy to feel like a failure. The moment I take my eyes off God and fail to see what He has done for me, my self-esteem plummets. The instant I forget to listen to His still small voice lead, guide, and lift me, the enemy's lies begin to overtake, as I sink deeper and deeper into the pit of despair.

What a comfort to know that though we may fail, we won't always fail because Christ has lifted us up. He has bridged the gap from our frailties and faults to His healing and holiness, and when we apply this to the trials of life, we have great hope that drowns out any despair. For instance, our little Dani may be disabled, but she won't always be disabled because in heaven she will be healed. My biggest trial, heartache, and life-long challenge is only temporary because my happiness does not hinge on whether she is disabled or not, it stems from the hope I have in God and His Son Jesus who loves me enough to die on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world.

Think for a moment. What failure or disappointment has overcome you this day? Have your eyes drifted from God or your ears grown dull to His sustaining whisper? If so, choose now to abandon the lies that condemn and focus on the truth that through Christ you have victory and hope! Remember God's love that gave it's all so that you can walk through life with a joy that shines His light for all to see and receive.

How Deep The Father's Love For Us

by Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast inJesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

August 22, 2009

Blogger's Testimony

I recently had the opportunity to hear a young man, Zach Bieghler, speak about his experience with blogging. He travels around the country sharing his testimony and with his permission I share it with you. His is a sobering story with many lessons to be learned and much as our Lord does through scripture, Zach uses his experience as an example of what we should never do.


My name is Zach Bieghler and I’m a paramedic in the State of Kansas. I have served with various EMS agencies in South Central Kansas as well as for an educational institution. I’ve been a paramedic since September of 2005 and in EMS since 2002. I’ve spent the last six years of my life dedicated to EMS, working as much as I could, between multiple EMS jobs to gain knowledge and experience. Life was good. I had recently become established enough to buy my first home in the town of which I served. I was taking various EMS courses to be a better instructor for my students of which I taught. Life as it seemed was on the right track I hoped and dreamed for. Unfortunately, that dream came to a sudden stop, which came by no one else’s fault but my own.

In April of 2007 my EMS partner and I were called out for an inter-facility transfer. The patient had several medical complications, in addition to being severely obese. Several hours after the call and when the report was finished, I sat down at the computer, while on the clock mind you, and entered There I started a “blog” which I wrote about the call I had just ran hours before. Out of respect for my previous employer, I’m not going to discuss what I had written in the blog, but to say ashamedly, it was vulgar and offensive and related to the patient’s level of obesity.

I had written the blog for my friends to see only, most of which are in the EMS profession. I later discovered that I did not have settings adequate on to prevent the general public from viewing. I wrote the blog to share my experiences and to make them laugh. As a healthcare provider, we all must be empathetic and sympathetic towards all patients regardless of the situation. As I wrote this blog, my empathy for this patient was absent. I didn’t think about the anger, humility, and mistrust that could have manifested by the patient towards me, my agency or my profession. Not to mention a legal preceding that could have been initiated by the patient that could have damaged my agencies trust and reputation. This will present a tough, but extremely important lesson to learn as time goes by.

After I had written the blog, time went by as usual. As months went by I had actually forgot that I had written the blog. I had actually cared for this patient two more times since the blog for various reasons. As I continued caring for him I grew to like the patient. I remember one time as I entered his residence he greeted me by first name with a smile. You have developed a special bond with a patient when they remember you by name and you remember them. At this point, I would have deleted the blog from my site, but as I said, I had forgotten all about it.

In September of 2007, a co-worker reported the blog to my employer. This initiated a meeting between my Director, hospital Vice President and my agencies attorney. While participating in a mass casualty drill I was pulled away and escorted to the Vice President’s office. I knew it had to be a significant matter to pull me away from such a training exercise. Completely oblivious as to what was going on, I found myself in the office with the Vice President of Operations and the Director of EMS. I was immediately confronted with the blog that I had written. I had a rush of emotions, the most powering being sorrow for what I had done. I was instructed not to talk about it, delete all work related blogs immediately and was given a 30 day unpaid suspension. My Director also told me that he would more than likely be reporting the incident to the Kansas Board of EMS.

In a state of complete devastation I arrived home and immediately logged onto and deleted every blog I had ever written. I found out that evening that two of my co-workers had also been suspended 30 days without pay because of my personal blog and their return comments. I’m the author and they got suspended as well! I had never lived with such guilt in my life as I felt then. So guilt ridden in fact, that I lost 10 lbs over the next few days.

I continued to work for the educational institution during time I was suspended. After a week of my suspension, the Dean of Instruction at the educational institution received a letter accompanied by a copy of my blog. Now, this blog not only caused my problems at my EMS service, but my secondary job as well. This resulted in a very stern meeting between me and the EMS Program Director. The Program Director is my mentor and I had really let him down. Not only did I let him down, I let down the entire staff and students at the educational institution. The guilt and disappointment in me was starting to become unbearable. Serving a thirty day suspension from my career and my primary source of income took its toll. I had to completely drain all of my savings to stay afloat. All of this resulted because of my poor choice of judgment. I soon found that things were just starting.

I returned to work after my suspension and found myself working with those extremely disappointed in me. After a couple of days and a few talks with co-workers, things only improved by a little. I will never get that full respect back that I had prior to the incident and I wouldn’t ask for it either. What I did was wrong and hard for anyone to forgive. Still guilt-ridden and disappointed beyond words, I found myself having difficulty coping with what I had done and fell into a deep depression.

February of 2008 rolled around; I was enrolled in an Instructor Coordinator class to further my education and passion to teach. I found that my Director did in fact report the incident to the Kansas Board of EMS. The Board’s Investigations Committee was meeting in just days. I had contacted the Board and confirmed the news and was told that a decision would be made at the meeting later that week. The week passed slowly by as I waited in horror. Friday came and I contacted the Board office. I found that a decision had been made to revoke my Paramedic certification. My world was soon spiraling out of control.

As one could imagine, the process to revoke a license is not a quick and painless process. The process took months. Not knowing when my license would be revoked and trying to concentrate on my career was painstaking. One of the hardest things to complete was my Instructor Coordinator class, uncertain of my careers future path.

I had finally started to build my savings back up and was advised to seek an attorney. This was another financial hit from my original mistake. I hired an attorney to help me through the revocation process. A total of nine months passed since my original suspension. Nine months of guilt, anguish, disappointment and depression, I finally received a consent agreement. Given the options and willing to accept my mistake and consequences of my action, I signed the consent agreement. This agreement listed several things, to summarize, I was being revoked for no less than 90 days for professional misconduct emphasizing on a possible violation of patient confidentiality.

Consequently, I resigned as a paramedic for the service I worked for and had to quit teaching, which is something I’m very passionate about. I had to take a job as a vendor merchandiser, stocking shelves in grocery stores. Working alone everyday gave me a lot of time to think about what I had really done and who I had disappointed. Having resigned from the EMS agency and not being able to teach, I roughly took a 60% pay cut. Once again, the financial burden, for my moment of poor judgment, continually hung over my head. During this time I relied very heavily on my family, friends and mentors. As I relied on them, they too suffered, feeling the ups and downs of the process. Also during this time I sought counseling for my actions from a mental health hospital. Having completed the counseling I learned more about empathy and it’s importance. It instilled in me the importance of patient confidentiality as I found myself as a patient in a mental health hospital.

After barely struggling though my 90-day period it was time to try and get reinstated. I knew that it was possible that the Board could extend my revocation or worst yet revoke my MICT indefinitely. I soon found myself sitting in front of the Investigations Committee in Topeka, in a small room, crowded with people I didn’t know. I felt alone as I really only knew three individuals there, two of which testified on my behalf. As I stood out in the hallway with the panel during deliberation, I felt sick with emotions. “What if they say no?” was all I could think of. I thought about how much effort and time (6 years) I had put into my career. For what? All for the chance to blog on

The large group in the hallway filed back into the conference room as I took a seat back at the table in which I had testified at. The decision was made to reinstate my MICT! This was all I could ask for. There were two conditions that followed: 1) Write an article for the KEMSA Chronicle, which would also be published on the KSBEMS website, and 2) make myself available to any EMS agency across the State of Kansas to speak about what I had done and the consequences that followed.

Having listed the conditions stated, I want to emphasize that I’m not writing this article because I have to. I am writing this article to educate other EMS professionals. What I did was wrong and should never happen to anyone. I want people to learn from my mistake. I have heard several of my colleagues talk about calls that they had ran, some even in the same format as what I had wrote. We in EMS all have to know that “blogging” has consequences. Each and every bit of electronic postings must edify the profession, other technicians, ourselves and the patients we serve. I want my colleagues to think twice before saying or writing anything about the patients they care for. We have to be empathetic, put yourself in their shoes. Or as the hospital Vice President asked me in her office, “What if that patient was your mother, father, son or daughter”? As to the second condition listed, I would be more than happy to discuss my experience with your employees, co-workers or students. This is free of charge as required. You can schedule this by contacting me by email at

I would like to thank the Kansas Board of EMS for giving me the privilege and opportunity to share my experience with others. I would also like to thank KEMSA for publishing this article. Also thanks to all my family, friends, colleagues and my counselor who has supported me through this trying experience.

Thank you Zach. May the Lord restore you fully and completely.

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." Psalm 71:20